There is one thing the sinner hates to be told, and that is, he has no righteousness that God will accept. Our subject is, "No Righteousness."
The description that the Bible gives over and over of a man in his natural
state is that he has no righteousness that will pass the gates of Heaven.
He has no natural goodness that God will even look upon. The sinner is
his natural state is an abomination in the sight of God. Man has only an
imaginary righteousness. The righteousness he thinks he has, that he boasts
he has, is only imaginary. Rom. 3:10 says, "There is none righteous, no,
not one. "God puts the double emphasis here and lets humanity know there
are no exceptions. When he says, "There is none righteous, someone may
jump up and say, "There are some exceptions." But He covers all exceptions
by saying, "No, not one." Man is completely void of righteousness.
I know we are living in a day when modern psychology teaches that there
is a natural good ness in every life, and it can be brought out by training
and education. But that is contrary to God's Word. You turn an individual
loose, or take him completely away from the influence of God's Word, or
the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that person will naturally "devolute,"
sink downward, and become a savage, or a cannibal, or a rank heathen. We
boast of our present day civilization, but as a whole it is only a little
veneer, a thin coating, a religious paint that is soon forgotten.
I know at the average funeral today the preacher will tell you that So and So is saved because she was a good woman, or she was a good mother, or she did so and so for her community, or she was a faithful member of her church, or she reared her children well. My friend, such living is no evidence in the world that an individual was saved. I know when my father died, I conducted his funeral at his request, and I made the statement over his casket that if he were born again and knew the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour, as he said he did, he was saved. If he didn't, he was lost. His being a good father, or a good husband, or a good provider had nothing in the world to do with his salvation. That statement made some folks so angry they liked to have died. They haven't forgiven me yet. But that is so, whether you believe it or not. Of all places in the world that we preachers should be honest and true with the souls of men, it is at a funeral. Death does not alter a man's condition.
Let me state again that all the righteousness or goodness that you think you have is imaginary. When the Holy Spirit is come, He will convict the world of righteousness. He shows the sinner that he has no righteousness. He does that by opening your heart, turning the searchlight on the very recesses of your soul, and letting you see that all your religious works are nothing but dead works, according to Heb. 6:1; 9:14. Yes, they are just dead work. All your Bible teaching, all your praying, all your preaching, all your personal work before you are saved are just dead works. They are work of darkness, because your life is under the control of Satan.
I know I came to see that be fore God saved me. I came to detest and abhor my whole religious life before I was saved. I meet folks yet who insist that surely many of my converts before I was saved are born again. The only way I can answer that statement is that the salvation of every soul rests between that soul and God. But I will say this one thing, of the hundreds of my converts I have met since God saved me, I have not met one yet who was saved. The old law is: Like begets like, kind after his kind. How can the preaching of an unsaved preacher awaken lost sinners? He is preaching Christ in his own name, and not under the power of God's Holy Spirit.
Yes, every awakened sinner, as he comes to the Lord, or as he is being
drawn to Christ by the Holy Spirit, will come to see that all his religious
works and religious duties are as filthy rags; they are an abomination
in the sight of God. The singer will quit his singing, the prayer will
quit his praying, the preacher will quit his preaching, the teacher will
quit his teaching, the deacon will quit his "deaconing," the so called
personal soul winner will shut his mouth, and the tract distributor will
fold up his kit. And as they see themselves devoid of righteousness, standing
naked before a holy God, they will see, know, and acknowledge that all
their religious works are just an abomination in the sight of God. The
sinner will see himself separated from all religion and religious activities,
and will find him self just a religious outcast, not fit to live. He sees
he deserves Hell, but cries for mercy. If a sinner never comes to that
place, he will never cry for the righteousness of Christ. When the Holy
Spirit shows a sinner that he is void of righteous ness, he has no righteousness
of his own, and no inherent goodness, and he comes to see it and ac knowledge
it, he begins to cry for the righteousness of Christ. God must strip a
sinner of all his imaginary righteousness, or self righteousness, or self
reformation before that sinner will ever begin to hunger and thirst after
the righteousness of Christ. It is the greatest day in a sinner's
life, up to that time, when that sinner is thoroughly convinced that he
has no righteousness of his own that God will accept, and he begins to
hunger and thirst after the righteousness of Christ, for he that hungers
and thirsts after righteousness shall be filled (Matt. 5:6). God must unclothe
the sinner, strip the sinner of the robes of his own weaving before He
can ever clothe him with the robe of Heaven, the righteous ness of Christ.
Brother, it is an awful moment to stand before a holy God naked, seeing
and knowing yourself naked, with no covering for your soul. But if you
never do, you will never know the righteousness of God. the imputed righteousness
of the Son of God.